Malathaat is 5-2 choice in Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Malathaat is the 5-2 morning-line favorite and will start from the No. 10 post for Friday’s 147th Kentucky Oaks.

The race for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs comes a day before the Kentucky Derby.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Malathaat has won all four starts. Pletcher is going for his fourth Oaks victory and first since 2013 with Princess of Sylmar.

“I’m basically fine with the draw,” Pletcher said. “I probably would have preferred to be a bit more toward the middle. But if it was a case of drawing inside or outside, I’ll take the outside. It’ll work out fine.”

Search Results, winner of all three races and trained by Chad Brown, and Travel Column, trained by Brad Cox, are co-second choices at 3-1. They drew, respectively, the No. 12 and No. 6 posts Monday for the 1 1/8-mile race. Clairiere, trained by Steve Asmussen, is the 5-1 third choice from the No. 3 post in the $1.25 million race.

Malathaat’s victories include the Ashland at Keeneland on April 3 in which she beat fellow Oaks entrant Pass the Champagne by a head with Joel Rosario aboard. Rosario has Millefeuille, a 20-1 choice from the No. 14 and last slot.

Cox, a Louisville native, has two chances to earn his second consecutive Oaks victory and third in four years. He is also saddling Coach, who will start from the No. 9 post as one of three 50-1 longshots.

Travel Column finished 18 points behind in second to Search Results on the Oaks trail and has a Churchill Downs win among three in her career, with a second and a third in five starts.

Cox figures to have the Kentucky Derby favorite in Essential Quality when that 20-horse field is drawn Tuesday.

In the Oaks, he believes Travel Column can navigate from her post with jockey Florent Geroux. He says the filly has enough speed and doesn’t necessarily need to be on the lead.

“But we’ll see how it unfolds and what other horses are doing,” he said. “Florent knows her very well and how she gets away. We’re in a good position with her.”

Clariere has alternated victories and seconds in her four starts, including two this year. She won the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds in February and finished 2 ¾ lengths behind Travel Column in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 20.

Post time is 5:51 p.m. EDT.

Kentucky Oaks entrants by post position, with jockey and odds from the rail out:

1. Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr.), 20-1; 2. Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche), 20-1; 3. Clariere (Tyler Gaffalione), 5-1; 4. Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz), 15-1; 5. Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano), 15-1; 6. Travel Column (Florent Geroux), 3-1; 7. Ava’s Grace (David Cohen), 50-1; 8. Moraz (Flavien Prat), 30-1; 9. Coach (Luis Saez), 50-1; 10. Malathaat (John Velazquez), 5-2; 11. Will’s Secret (Jon Court), 30-1; 12. earch Results (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 3-1; 13. Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros), 50-1; 14. Millefeuille (Joel Rosario), 20-1.

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